After a 5-game winning streak and getting within two games of being in first place, the Rockets had a hard-fought game with an opponent they had seen just two days previously. (Side note, while the referees were not great in this game, I will not focus on them as we need to focus on what is really important: this team.) Clint Capela was absolutely amazing in this game. Clint has usually struggled with big men in the NBA, and Andre Drummond is as big as they come, but Capela absolutely held his own. He played 43 minutes and dropped an impressive 29 points with 21 rebounds (12 of which were offensive rebounds.)
James Harden had a rough night shooting from the floor overall: he was 9 for 27, including 3 for 11 from the 3-point line. Even though he will look impressive on the stat line with a 33 point and 8 assist night, it should not be overlooked that James was responsible for half of the team’s turnovers, with 7 turnovers of his own doing. This statistic was one of the first downfalls for the Rockets.
Chris Paul and Eric Gordon both struggled as well for the Rockets. Both of these guys shot sub-.500 from the floor inside the arc as well as outside the arc. But the most concerning thing for the Rockets is the use of the bench, or the lack thereof.
Not including a former 6th man of the year on the team, the most anyone played from the bench is 14 minutes. This statistic has to be concerning going forward as there is no other production coming from the bench. Just like last year, the Rockets are going to rely heavily on starters to pull out a miracle to be successful this year. While the Rockets have a great starting unit, the bench will continue to hinder the team with its youth and inexperience.
Although it was great to see Coach Jeff Bzdelik back on the bench (and he should help with the defense going forward), these Rockets have some holes that need to be filled. They are putting a lot of hope into the Brandon Knight route, as he is getting closer to return. But the big question has to be whether or not Isaiah Hartenstein is the answer moving forward. I believe a veteran should be the answer; maybe one will be available towards the buy-out market, but for now, in Morey we trust!
*All statistics from NBA.com/stats